Training response work

When I start to feel like a bad person or get really anxious, one of my “tells” is that I say phrases like “I feel bad” or “I’m bad” in a certain tone of voice. I don’t even realize I’m saying them, they just come out on their own.

I’ve trained all three of my dogs, Hestia the soon-to-be-retired service dog, Alice the washout, and Felix the service dog in training, to run over to me and jump on my chest when I say these things. Dogs jumping on me excitedly always makes me feel better 🙂 And every time they do it, of course they get treats as a reinforcement!

It’s pretty funny how different the dogs are. Hestia responds to the word “bad” when I say it in any tone of voice. Felix and Alice pay more attention to my intonation when I say it, and actually will respond to any words said with that tone of voice. They respond faster than Hestia if I’m actually feeling bad and say it. But when I’m faking it for training purposes, they respond slower than Hestia.

I decided to get a video of how this training goes, so of course I was faking it so we knew to have the camera on! Hestia runs over immediately, but Alice and Felix require me to say it twice before they run over. Still, everyone gets treats for responding! Enjoy the video!

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